Batten Briefing: Decarbonizing the Automobile Industry

By Jay Hodgkins

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has published its latest Batten Briefing — “Path to 2060: Decarbonizing the Automobile Industry.” The briefing distills the key insights and takeaways from Professor Mike Lenox‘s broader research on pathways to propel the automobile industry away from fossil fuels and toward zero-carbon emission technologies like electric vehicles.

Overall, we believe that rapid maturity and decreasing costs of electric vehicle technologies as well as a strong global demand, particularly in Asia, will drive the transition to electric vehicles.

How long will it take? Even if all vehicles sold were electric starting today, it would take at least 20 years to completely decarbonize the automobile industry as the stock of more than 1 billion existing vehicles turns over slowly.

Continued investment, both public and private, in R&D and charging infrastructure, will help get us there more quickly. And for fuel cell vehicles, this investment and government incentives will be critical for the technology to become cost-competitive in this market.

We are optimistic that meeting the 2060 target is possible, but will be challenging. Make no mistake—the automobile industry will be electrified. It’s just a matter of when and which technology will be in the driver’s seat when it happens.

To view the Batten Briefing as well at the full “Decarbonizing the Automobile Industry” report and a webinar and podcast on the research, visit Darden’s Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative research webpage.

“Decarbonizing the Automobile Industry” is the first of a three-part “Path to 2060” series, in which Lenox will examine possibilities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in various sectors of the global economy.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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